Marketing Tips #1

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In honor of the Pasadena store opening, below are five marketing tips for nonprofits in retail:

1. NPR. Local NPR stations are a gold mine of potential customers. Listener demographics are readily available for reference as customer profiles. This year, I am planning to spend half of my marketing budget on KUT.

2. 80/20. Know which 20 percent of store inventory account for 80 percent of revenue. Existing customer like those items, potential customers likely will too. Find ways to spotlight those items.

3. Analysis customer ZIPs. Classic marketing tactic. Collect this data and allocate appropriate marketing resources to the top three ZIP codes. Remind volunteers to be diligent about collecting customers’ ZIP codes. Otherwise, experience tells me that the data will be “corrupt” for cashiers will assume that no one cares about this data anyways.

4. Ask for permission. Talk to your customers. Don’t underestimate the power of an e-mail list. Remember the thrill when your date said “yes” to the dinner and movie? This is similar. Get approval to send relevant, interesting information that help your customer become a loyal fan of fair trade. (In marketing speak, this is permission marketing.) A regular newsletter is but one of the tools available.

5. Sell products, not ideology. Let’s face it — Fair trade is a niche market. It is not any less noble to play up the value of the products so that you’ll appeal to a wider audience. Ten Thousand Villages is retail, not lobby.

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